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Casablanca: Sahara Hotnights Drummer Gets Her Rocks Off, ’80s Style

Jen Hell

Josephine Forsman is best-known in rock circles as a member of Swedish all-girl band Sahara Hotnights, but the restless drummer just hit record stores again in another kickass group. Along with vocalist Anders Ljung, bassist Mats Rubarth, guitarists Ryan Roxie (Alice Cooper, Electric Angels) and Erik Stenemo, Forsman plays in Casablanca, a band that fans of glammy rock like Hanoi Rocks, Faster Pussycat and Jetboy will wet their pants for. There’s even a reference to a “heartbreak station” on their track “Love and Desperation.” Cinderella reference anyone?

Apocalyptic Youth, Casablanca’s debut album, is harkens back to the time when you would throw a record onto your turntable and listen to it from front to back. Sure, there are plenty of candy-kissed choruses and radio-ready singles all over the thing, but the album also has enough grit and attitude throughout it to make even the most hardened critic become a fan of the quintet.

Noisecreep caught up with Forsman to talk about Casablanca and as you’ll read below, she’s just as excited about the group as we are!

Josephine, everyone knows you from Sahara Hotnights, so how did you get involved with Casablanca? The band certainly has an eclectic mix of people in it.

You know Sweden is such a small country you would think that people from different bands would get together and play more often than they do, it’s a shame we don’t have more of a tradition of that! I’m very glad I did jump on this train when Anders and Erik asked me to join in. I absolutely love playing hard rock drumming, and in Casablanca I can be just as extrovert as I want to be, I’m pleased to be in two of Sweden’s greatest bands!

Did you call yourselves Casablanca after the old record label (KISS, Angel, Donna Summer?

It’s definitely a homage to that label, without question.

Watch Casablanca’s “Downtown” Video

When I listen to Apocalyptic Youth, I hear a bit of Hanoi Rocks and old KISS in there. Did you guys purposely set out to recreate that kind of vibe with Casablanca?

I think the Casa sound has a unique vibe to it, but it would be greedy to hid influences from the crowd right! We have listened to Hanoi Rocks and old KISS, but at the same time we wanted the production to sound modern. Bands now should create new music, not old.

You’ve already played on television in Sweden and it seems like melodic rock has never gone out of style over there. Do you find that to be true? It’s hard for bands like Casablanca to even do a nationwide tour in the States right now.

I’m not completely with you there, on Swedish radio you almost never hear Casa-sounding music, we tend to love American indie pop and British alt-pop, but there will always be people who wants a bit of melodic rock and we’ve had the pleasure working with these people on TV and rock radio. I also do think we’ll hear it more and more in the future, when people realize what a joy it is to listen to and throw yourself into!

In 2010, you guys opened for KISS. How did you manage to score that without an album out? How was the show?

The show was great! What a dream come true, I really have no idea how we got it, but I think Ryan pulled some strings to make it happen.

Rocket Songs

Now that the album is in stores, what Casablanca have planned out? I know Ryan is back in Alice Cooper’s touring band again.

The Casa-journey has only just begun. This is a band you will hear a lot from in the future, next week we enter the studio to record a new single, and in November we’ll make the second album. There are so many great songs that needs to be captured on tape. Ryan’s doing the summer with Cooper, but he’ll be back, and until then for the summer shows we’ll have a stand-in on guitar. We don’t stop now.

What is the status of Sahara Hotnights as of 2012?

Sahara is taking it’s second break after these 20 years together. I have no idea when you will hear from us again, but when you do, it’s gonna be smashing, until then we keep quiet.

Ulf Magnusson

Casablanca’s Apocalyptic Youth is out now via Rocket Songs. Pick up the album on iTunes.

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